Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Sunday, November 11, 2007: Waves: Dropping to 3-4 feet. Water clarity: fair.
I was mainlanded for much of the day but got word that a few of those 10-pound blues were cruising the beaches – well, not actually cruising on the beach, though that might help all the hunters out there who are having such lousy duck thing years. Imagine having blitzing bluefish coming out of the water on a feed. Hell, I could make a mint selling bunker-pattern camo-wear, i.e., “Panicked Peanut Bunkie Basic,” “Jumbo Menhaden Baitball Melt” or a favorite of guides everywhere, “Dangling Bunker Donut Delight.” Then there’s the fall mullet line in Gore-Tex.
Anyway, today was a huge letdown overall. I did some checking and the fishing just wasn’t where we were hoping it would be.
… beautiful weather and smooth seas reversed that completely on Friday, when we saw good numbers of bass and bluefish responding to drifted spots in front of IBSP. Most of the bass were shorts, but we still ended up with plenty of bass in the box before we returned to the dock. All these fish were gorged with sandeels, so it looks like fall fishing is truly underway whenever the weatherman cooperates.
(That showing of sand eels is consistent with the test throws I’ve made near LBI jetties. I’m fouling some in my 3/8 mesh net. It’s been many a fall since I’ve managed that. As most of you know, the LBI-and-vicinity sand eel showings have been super sub-par for upwards of a decade. There was an odd-as-all-get-out showing of sand eels about five winter back when massive tightly packed balls of this oily baitfish were cruising Beach haven Inlet in mid-winter, bitter cold times. The lard-ass herring gulls were over them by the hundreds despite zero wind-chills. In the late 1980s (mid- to late-fall), I could foul so many sand eels in my cast net that I’d fill a 5-gallon bucket -- after painstakingly pulling them from their gilled entrapment. It’s hard to believe there is a bait better than bunker but fresh sand eels will put them to shame. Cow bass will frantically suck in a single sand eel. They are also excellent thawed but that eely texture is lost. J-mann)
I regularly get a super rundown by Stan at Fisherman’s headquarters. I often use it to help do reports but this latest one is so encompassing I’m going to put it in here verbatim – with Stan’s permission, of course.
“The Striper action has finally heated up. Both boat and beach anglers are scoring in the bays and the ocean. Most fish sizes hover around the keeper size. The few bigger fish being reported have come from boats trolling the bottom. For the last few days both North and South of Barnegat Inlet the massive bird play in 50' of water during the bottom of outgoing tide has been getting routine; you follow the driving birds, throw your jig, retrieve a Striper, then move up to birds again and repeat the process. Many of these fish were 28" to mid 30" size. Once the birds start soaring high it's time to use the umbrella rigs on wire if you want to hook up.
Boats that went straight out of Barnegat also did well on Stripers. Stripers caught off the bottom were spitting up "Giant Sized Sand Eels" that they were feeding on off the bottom.
Capt. Alex Majewski of Lighthouse Sportfishing summed it up both short and sweet, "With bass in the bay and now out front it's time to go fishing!".
Saturday, Russ caught a 23" and a 26" Striper on 12th street in Surf City. Russ also wants to thank the people of Surf City and the gentleman in the Gold Explorer for helping him get un-stuck.
Keith Weidenhof from Manahawkin fished the North End Saturday afternoon and had a lot of small bass (5-10lb) on plugs, "A ton of fun but nothing worth keeping".
Saturday, Philip Rossi from Egg Harbor City weighted in a 17# 11oz bass for the LBI surf derby. He caught the fish in North Beach Haven around 10:30 AM on bunker.
Friday, Mike fished mid island from 6:00 AM to Noon with two buddies. They had three throwbacks all at about 26 inches on clam and caught one 8-lb bluefish on mullet.
Thursday afternoon, Greg and Chris fished the surf in North Beach with almost non-stop small Striper action. The bait rods didn't seem to get any hits all the action was on the plugging rods. They tossed Bomber and Redfin plugs of various colors and they all worked.
Thursday afternoon, Stan and Al did well on small Stripers by working bucktail jigs and X-Raps on both sides of Barnegat's North Jetty during the bottom of the outgoing. Prior to this they made a short trip offshore off Loveladies to about 55 ft of water. The birds were everywhere but high in the sky. They landed Bluefish from the mid-depths and ling off the bottom. They found out later that an hour earlier Stripers were everywhere hitting surface lures. Right place wrong time.
Congratulations to "Diamond" Jim Sprague aboard the "Locals Only" for winning the Beach Haven Marlin Tuna Club's 3rd Annual LBI Cup Striped Bass Invitational. Fishing was slow because of the wind and rain; however, the crew managed to land a 27 and a 13-pounder. Both fish were caught on live eel in the bay around the backside of Holgate.
Capt. Steve Purul, Reel Fantasea saw this weeks Striper fishing as red-hot action. His largest fish during a week of charters was 17-lbs. All trips this week limited on Striped Bass but the average catch lengths were the mid to upper twenties on a variety of artificial and live baits.
The reports were not so glowing earlier in the week. Wednesday and Thursday it sounded like most boats that were anchored and fishing the North-end of LBI off the sedge islands did not do that well during the day. In an area that had about 35 boats, only a boat here and there would land a fish.
Anglers who fished off Island Beach have been coming into the store with reports of Stripers hitting surface plugs. In some cases it was 20 fish per boat. Trolling an umbrella rig in this same area, Joe Stout landed a 35-lb class Striper on Thursday.
Friday, Capt. Alex Majewski of Lighthouse Sportfishing reported most trips are continuing to land 10 or more bass with a mix of keepers and shorts. Catches are being made using plugs, live spot and calm. The bass he cleaned had giant sand eels. These sand eels might be great sign; as many believe Striper's will hold their migration to the South in order to stay and feed on the sand eels. Capt. Alex on Friday also mentioned that out front, he had reliable reports of bass mixed-in with big blues being caught jigging metals a little to the North of Barnegat Inlet. This report was right on the mark as it turned out.”